Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
While other top players prematurely tumbled out of the tournament or skipped the Sony Open Tennis event altogether, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray forged full steam ahead.
Less than 24 hours after Djokovic hammered Lukas Rosol 6-1, 6-0, Murray took care of Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-1 during second-round action on Saturday afternoon. The third-ranked Scot struck eight aces and held all eight of his service games to prevail in a mere 56 minutes.
Tomic held his first two service games of the match and even saw multiple break points at 2-1 in the opener, but it was downhill for him the rest of the way. The 20-year-old Australian dropped five of the next six games, including at 3-5 on his own serve. Tomic, who explained afterward that he had been dealing with an illness, was more hopeless in the second. He won a mere two return points and saved none of the break points he faced.
Top Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner took much more treacherous paths into the Key Biscayne third round. Querrey dropped his opening service game but held 13 consecutive times to overcome Lukasz Kubot 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. The world No. 20 broke Kubot on four occasions, including at 5-3 in the third to finish off the comeback in style.
“I felt pretty good (in the) second and third sets,” said Querrey. “Served big. Hit my forehand well. I was pretty happy.”
Speaking of serving big, Isner provided even more drama on the Grandstand–where he outlasted Ivan Dodig 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) in two hours and eight minutes. The 20th seed blasted 24 aces without double-faulting in a match that featured more momentum swings than any other in the tournament.
Isner trailed by a set and a break in the second with Dodig two service holds away from a straight-set upset. The Croat, however, dropped serve at 4-3 and and 5-6 to throw away the set. A dispirited Dodig found himself down a break in the third only to enjoy a revival from out of nowhere to break back twice and even serve for the match at 6-5. A questionable call helped Isner stun Dodig in the 12th game of the decider and force a tiebreaker. Dodig eventually saved two match points on his own serve, but Isner finished off the thriller at 6-5 with a crushing service winner.
“I needed it for sure,” Isner said of the win. “I just tried to stay positive. I told myself it really can’t get worse than it was up to a certain point. I as able to turn it around once I got back even in that second set.”